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Hi all
This is my first Cafe Racer build and I'm using a Honda VF1000F Interceptor as the base. This is the first water cooled bike I've ever had and when I started to strip it down I've got mightily confused. It has two water radiators one sitting behind the headlight and under the dash array and another larger one on the down tubes. Question is seeing that I've removed the fairing and won't be replacing it do I need two radiators. If I do it's going to make that area of the bike look very untidy. Can I instead replace them with one larger radiator from another bike. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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And by the way, fuck you.
That's one of my favorite bikes ever made, and it's not because of its potential to look like a 60's brit bike.
Make it yours, then sell it on craigslist with all the crap you took off of it in a Rubbermaid tub so someone might have a chance to save it.
 

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I'm going to answer you question with a question: do you think you are smarter than a Honda engineer?

No no before you answer here is what I want you to think about: the way a Honda engineer might approach this is problem is that you need a minimum radiator surface area to keep the bike cool. How you get that surface area depends on packaging. In this case a Honda engineer, that's a guy who went to school and designs bike components for functionality for a living, split the radiator up into two pieces to keep a smaller profile. It wasn't dine because of fairings, take them off and the engine still needs that radiator surface area.

So now back to your question, where you want to cripple your bikes cooling system because it looks untidy. Do you need the second radiator? Not if you get one big fuck off one to replace the two little ones. Did you even think about the problem this way? No? Maybe you shouldn't be mucking about with this bike, put it back to stock, and sell it before you ruin what is arguably one if the great 1980's superbikes.
 

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First, please fuck off.
the VF1000F is a great bike and will never be a "cafe racer". Only an asshole would try.
Play to the strengths of the bike.....


second, are you sure the one "behind the headlight" isn't an oil cooler?
 

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Can I instead replace them with one larger radiator from another bike. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Of course you can. One bigger radiator to tidy that area up. I suggest a curved one off of a later model Ducati. Something off like a 1098R would certainly work, it's about the same displacement and is a "V" engine also. Radiators aren't rocket science after all, hot water goes in one side and cold water comes out the other. One 1000cc bike will make that same amount of water as another I'm sure. Well, I think anyway. Then again, the Ducati is only a twin and the Honda is a four so maybe the Honda makes twice as much. I dunno. Try it and find out, what's the worst that can happen? It's got a temp gauge, just watch that. Oh, and make the fan manual with a toggle on the dash. When the temp gauge rises flip it on. Done. That way you don't have to worry about a Ducati temp sensor not being calibrated for the Honda fan switch or vice versa. I suppose you could modify the gauge by putting a micro switch in it, so when the needle goes up high enough it hits the switch. The switch off a Brembo master cylinder might work, early 90s vintage Ducati again.

Have you cut off the subframe yet? Fitting the bum stop tail is going to be a bigger hassle than the radiator IMHO. The stock subframe angles up too sharply, you need to lose it ASAP. You might be able to keep the stock subframe if you used a really low seat, like a skateboard deck or something. And that gas tank looks a bunch more superbike than cafe racer so ditch it too. I'm guessing a Benelli Mojave tank could be modded to fit? Or maybe something off of a CBwhatever if you want to keep the bike original. It might have better resale then. BTW Flat black paint is your friend here. it helps everything blend when you're pulling parts off different bikes and putting them on one frame.

That front wheel is a 16", right? Do they even make Firestones in 16" sizes?

Google Ichaban's stuff to get some good ideas on how to make it all work.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Great answers guys. I didn't think it could be an air conditioner radiator. If it is I'll remove it because the damn airconditioning doesn't work anyway. As for rebuilding it back to original not an option because it was in pretty poor condition when I got it and the cost to restore would be way to high. A bikini fairing could be a good idea if it comes to it but I did want to keep it as clean as I could. It would seem that the only other option is put on a bigger radiator and hope for the best. image.jpeg image.png
 

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That is pretty ratty. Hope it runs good, those things are a prick to service.



I'll never understand why people affix those huge carry racks way high up and out behind the rear wheel, i mean can you think of a worse place to carry a bunch of extra weight on a motorcycle? If you need to carry that much crap, why not just tow a trailer, or mount a sidecar, or better yet, buy a truck and put the bike in the back along with all your junk! Can you believe that somebody would actually pay money for that thing and feel good about permanently mounting it on their what was likely at the time a pretty nice motorcycle. :/ all to haul a 2-4 of beer for 12 blocks. lol Lunacy I tell you Lunacy!
… that's not a question by the way, just me venting because it's too freakin cold out to go riding :( -24 degrees C and dropping rapidly.
 

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well, it's got all the plastics and the tank looks pretty good. but the cost of restoring it is the real issue. doing it properly will cost a couple of times what it's currently worth.

but it's a really bad candidate for what you want to do with it. frame shape and engine configuration are totally wrong for "the look". ratted out old school street fighter maybe.
 

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Why would the restoration cost more then it is worth?
These are worth a fair bit and rising.

Or on the other hand, why does every restoration have to be for profit?

So every jerk off cafe dude says they can start with "all they could find" why wouldnt that be okay for a restoration?

While playing dress up might not cost that much, actually building something meaningful by improving the performance isnt cheap either.
 

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First off, that is one of the ugliest VF1000F I have ever seen. It is ratty and the paint scheme is just hideous. I don't know what it is about the colors or the stripes or what, but I absolutely hate it. That being said, there is no harm in doing something decent with this bike, but it will never be a cafe racer in any classical sense of the term.

So, put a Superbike seat on it from an RC30 or RC45, Or an RVF endurance bike. Airtech has them or I am sure that Tannermatic can make you something. Put some CBR wheels on it, rebuild the front forks and fit a new rear shock along with good tires and an exhaust. If you are going to run the front naked, then just put a single round headlight on it not some stupid twin bugeye street fighter bs. I would either keep the front fairing or use one from an RC45. There, you are done. Now ride it and enjoy it. Oh yeah, paint the tank even if it is just in primer, that is even better than what is on there.
 

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Why would the restoration cost more then it is worth?
These are worth a fair bit and rising.

Or on the other hand, why does every restoration have to be for profit?
who said i was talking about making a profit fuck knuckle.

i was talking about doing it properly.

there's only one on bikesales, 5k including two parts bikes. a couple of clean vf1000r listed, both for around 10k. i had to ride a vf1000r once, and i'd call that about 9k too much.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Actually I was hoping for an inspired answer maybe from someone who'd been there done that but obviously not. Just wondering if the top radiator is like a pre radiator to get water from the rear two cylinders. Actually I liked the idea of a manual override on the fan if it starts to heat up but in reality one big radiation would probably work if done as a cafe racer. The original design had it as a tourer and was built to race in the Bol D'or 24 hour race where cooling would be very important. As a cafe racer though it's not going to tour and will only do short trips which is why I said I'll put a bigger radiator and hope for the best. Not the Nswers I wanted but got me thinking about options.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Spot on comments. It is pretty ugly but I've seen some pictures of similar bikes done up and they look good. This is just a project for fun and to see what I can come up with. I'm actually thinking all black below with a small bit of chrome, single seat, clip ons, single gauge and your right with the single round headlight. That was my plan along with a Ducati yellow tank and back of seat. Below s a picture that got me thinking. It's a bit more radical than what I'm going to do but the ideas are good. BTW it only cost me $900 and yes it's ugly but it runs okay.
image.jpeg
 
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